The U of O won its 35th Panda Game on Saturday. Photo: Parker Townes/Fulcrum
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Grey and Garnet defeat Carleton Ravens 32-10

The Gee-Gees defeated the Carleton Ravens 32-10 at the 2019 Panda Game, claiming victory in front of an ecstatic 24,000 fans at TD Place on Saturday.

As students started packing the stands for kickoff, longtime jeopardy host and University of Ottawa alumnus Alex Trebek took to the field. Trebek was accompanied by U of O president Jacques Frémont for an emotional coin toss by the alumnus battling pancreatic cancer.

The first quarter started off well for Trebek’s alma matter, with the Gee-Gees scoring early and securing a rouge in the Carleton endzone on a punt to take an early 1-0 lead. 

Carleton made a quick comeback, scoring on the next drive. DeJong first found receiver Mitch Raper for a 42-yard gain. On the next play, he passed to receiver Quinton Soares for a 37-yard gain. The Ravens then managed to bypass the U of O defence on the ground thanks to an 11-yard rush from running back Nathan Carter. 

After a sack and an incomplete pass, Carleton elected to kick for the field goal. Kieran Flannery-Fleck kicked for an easy three points from the Ottawa 31st yard line, giving Carleton a 3-1 lead.

Carleton dominated early on in the second quarter after an interception from defensive-back Danny McWhirter on a long pass attempt from quarterback Ben Maracle. The Ravens managed to get within 23 yards of the Ottawa endzone thanks to two passes from DeJong to Soares. 

However, an unsuccessful play and a penalty forced Carleton to kick for the field goal. Seemingly struggling Flannery-Fleck missed the 23-yard field goal to give Ottawa the ball.  

Ottawa’s drive was short and the Gees only managed to gain seven yards before being forced to punt. Carleton took advantage of the shortfall on the next drive, scoring the first touchdown of the game on a long pass from DeJong to Soares in the enzone. 10-1 Ravens.

Carleton got very close to the Gee-Gee’s endzone late in the quarter but fell short  on another field goal attempt.

The Gee-Gees started off the second half with a fortunate safety, thanks in part to an offensive mistake from the Ravens, to cut the lead down to 10-3. 

A couple drives later, the Gees got deep in Carleton territory but a bad pass from Maracle was intercepted by the Raven’s Cedrick Lavigne at his team’s one-yard line. Ottawa then took advantage on the following play on a terrible snap back to the quarterback to tie up the game. 

Defensive lineman Tramayne Stephen recovered the ball in the Carleton endzone for the touchdown. Campbell Fair, moments later, kicked the extra point to make it 10-10 with 8:51 left in the third quarter.

“Out of my whole career this is my first “TD,” said Stephen after the game. “It’s exciting it got us back in the game.”

The Gee-Gees took the lead moments later, forcing Carleton back in their endzone on a punt for their second rouge of the night 

With about four minutes left, the Grey and Garnet took advantage of another offensive error by the Ravens. This time, DeJong fumbled the snap and Ottawa defensive lineman Cedrik Perron recovered the ball and raced to the Carleton endzone to give the Gee’s an 18-10 lead.   

“We were very happy, we kept our morale up and stayed positive the whole game even when we were losing 10-1,” said offensive lineman Xavier Pellerin. “We stayed positive and kept our good attitude and in the end, it paid off.” 

In the fourth quarter, both teams exchanged unsuccessful drives before the Gees finally took control of the game. With third-string quarterback Matt Mahler in the game, running back Jordan Burgher managed to rush past the Ravens to score the Gees’ third touchdown of the game to give Ottawa a 25-10 lead.

Late in the quarter, Ottawa truly put the game out of reach for Carleton by scoring a touchdown on a rush from running back Donald Shaw. 32-10 Ottawa.

Quarterback Ben Maracle struggled for the second game in a row, the rookie quarterback again failed to record a touchdown pass and only managed to throw for 68 yards through three quarters. Mahler came in and threw five complete passes in nine attempts and gained 47 yards in the air in a quarter of work. 

The Gee-Gees optimized their defence and opportune mistakes from the Ravens to claim their win. 

Following the game, Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi spoke about how his team knew what they had to do after a tough first half.

“I’m very proud, they had a lot of heart,” he said. “In the locker room at half time the players were resolved, they knew what they could do.”

The U of O football team will be back in action on Oct. 11 for the last home game of the regular season when they take on the Windsor Lancers at 1.p.m at the Gee-Gees Field. They will close out the regular season against the number one nationally ranked Western Mustangs. 

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